Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Natural Dye Results

According to an old USGS 15 minute map, this is Renner’s Artesian Well. It’s in the valley east of us, about four miles from our house. We’ve always enjoyed the rich bird life there. After my comments about natural dyes all producing yellow, Beryl emailed me with some suggestions. During summer she drives to an artesian well about 15 miles away, and in winter she collects rain water. I’ll have to look more closely into this water source as the valley has a reputation for alkalinity.

I am on a well and don’t know what the mineral content is on my water. But she said that in using well water or water with lots of minerals in it for mordanting, I might not be getting the mordant on my wool. Beryl says the artesian water she gets is more pure than her well. She agreed that not getting good colors is discouraging and thought it’s probably one of the reasons people give up on natural dyes. I liked her suggestions about overdying. Each shade of yellow overdyed with indigo would give a different green. Or I could overdye them with a weak bath of cochineal or madder or black walnut, but to consider yellow as my jumping off place.

So this weekend, I’ve decided I’ll try using the rest of my cottonwood dye liquor to dye some gray Romney. And I’ve also decided to collect what’s left of the prickly poppy (the heat has withered most of them) and see what kind of yellow I get.

Speaking of yellow, the yellow-headed black birds are migrating through Renner’s Well. They’re shy and they all flew down and hid in the reeds when I pulled up in my husband's noisy truck. They continued to make their noisy croaky calls, but those cowardly birds hid from me, the yellow-bellied #$%&@*&#


Purple Fuzzy Mittens said...

I love the yellow-headed blackbirds that nest there. I added a post to my blog as a companion to this entry. Cheers!

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